Under new artistic director David Binder, BAM’s 2019 Next Wave Festival consists exclusively of BAM debuts, with none of the familiar names that regular BAMgoers are used to seeing time and time again. About the closest you’re going to come is The Great Tamer, conceived, visualized, and directed by Dimitris Papaioannou, a former painter and comics artist who is the first person invited to create a piece for Tanztheater Wuppertal since BAM legend Pina Bausch’s death in 2009, Since She, which premiered last year. The Greek choreographer is now bringing his widely hailed The Great Tamer world tour to the Howard Gilman Opera House, where it runs November 14-17. Don’t let the title fool you; there’s nothing tame about this one-hundred-minute work, which features a Kubrick-esque astronaut, ample nudity, absurdist sculptural installations, nods to art history, bits of magic, and an unpredictable integration of humanity, nature, and technology, all set to Stephanos Droussiotis’s adaptation of Johann Strauss II’s Blue Danube. The wild piece is performed by Pavlina Andriopoulou, Costas Chrysafidis, Ektoras Liatsos, Ioannis Michos, Evangelia Randou, Kalliopi Simou, Drossos Skotis, Christos Strinopoulos, Yorgos Tsiantoulas, and Alex Vangelis, with sets by Tina Tzoka, costumes by Aggelos Mendis, lighting by Evina Vassilakopoulou, and sculptures by Nectarios Dionysatos. Prepare to be awed.
333 East 47th St. at First Ave.
November 14-16, $97, 7:30
Japan Society’s Emperor Series, celebrating the ascension of Emperor Naruhito to the Chrysanthemum Throne in May, concludes with a special program that includes a noh play created for Emperor Taishō’s ascension to the throne in 1912. In honor of the era turning from Heisei to Reiwa, Kurouemon Katayama X will stage Taiten, portraying the god Amatsukami, wearing a Mikazuki mask as he descends from the heavens for a ritual dance. The work is rarely performed; in mounting the Reiwa version, Kurouemon X was influenced by notes left by his father and grandfather from the 1912 original commission. In addition, Noritoshi Yamamoto and members of his family will perform the comedic kyogen play Kagyu (The Snail), in which a servant is sent to gather up snails but collects a traveling priest instead, thinking it is the shelled gastropod.
The show runs November 14-16, at the same time the succession rites, known as the Daijosai, or the Great Thanksgiving Ceremony, are taking place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The November 14 performance will be followed by a soirée, and Japan Society will host a noh workshop with actors from the Kyoto Kanze Association on November 15 at 1:00 ($60) and a kyogen workshop with members of the Yamamoto Tojiro Family of the Okura School of Kyogen on November 16 at 1:00 ($60). This is a rare chance to experience these works, so tickets are going fast despite their relatively high cost for a Japan Society event.
The New York City-based Tiffany Mills Company returns to the Flea, where it presented Blue Room last year, for the world premiere of Not then, not yet, running November 13-16 at the downtown theater. The work is a collaboration between dancer-choreographer Mills with Puerto Rican composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón, a founding member of Balún who writes electro-acoustical music for toys, robotic instruments, accordions, ensembles, and orchestras, and Brittany-born neoclassical composer and singer Muriel Louveau; Negrón and Louveau teamed up last week with dancer-choreographer Emily Marie Pope for the improvisational Isterica at National Sawdust, where Negrón is the current artist in residence. Not then, not yet explores transitions through space and time, inspired by the early writings of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley dealing with creation and destruction, isolation, and endings and beginnings. The evening-length piece will be performed by Mills, Pope, Jordan Morley, Kenneth Olguin, Nikolas Owens, and Mei Yamanaka, with lighting by Chris Hudacs and costumes by Pei-Chi Su. Tickets are $15-$20 except for Friday night’s benefit, which are $50 and includes a postshow reception.
November 1-24, free - $50
The eighth annual Performa Biennial kicks off today, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Staatliches Bauhaus, the German art school founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius that set in motion a major movement in art, architecture, and design around the world. There will be dozens of performances across disciplines, including film, dance, theater, music, installation, and unique hybrids, often incorporating architectural and sculptural elements, as well as conversations and panel discussions through November 24. The price for ticketed events range from $10 to $50, with most around $15-$25; among the highlights are artist Nairy Baghramian, dancer-choreographer Maria Hassabi, late modernist designer Janette Laverrière, and architect Carlo Mollino’s Entre Deux Actes (Ménage à Quatre), taking place on two floors of a Fifth Avenue town house; Lap-See Lam’s Phantom Banquet, a multimedia performance piece about ghosts and Chinese restaurants in Sweden; Pat’s You’re at Home, a one-night-only collaboration between Jacolby Satterwhite and Nick Weiss; Yvonne Rainer’s restaging of her seminal 1965 work Parts of Some Sextets, with new choreography and a recording of the original score; Huang Po-Chin’s Heaven on Fourth, which tells the story of a Chinese immigrant sex worker who committed suicide in Flushing in 2017; and the grand finale, Radio Voices, led by David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets with special guests Curse Mackey, Rona Rougeheart, Vangeline, and Heather Paauwe. But there are also dozens of free shows in cool locations, from museums and art galleries to outside on the street, most of which do not require advance RSVP; the full list is below.
Friday, November 1, 4:00 - 8:00
Saturday November 2, 4:00 - 8:00
Sunday, November 3, 2:00 - 6:00
Zakaria Almoutlak and Andros Zins-Browne: Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII–X, with the voices of Ganavya Doraiswamy and Aliana de la Guardia, 80 Washington Square East
Friday, November 1
Sunday, November 24
Ylva Snöfrid: Nostalgia — Acts of Vanitas, daily painting performance ritual, fifth-floor loft at 147 Spring St.
Saturday, November 2
Shu Lea Cheang, Matthew Fuller: SLEEP1237, Performa Hub, 47 Wooster St., 5:50 pm - 6:25 am
Gaetano Pesce: WORKINGALLERY, Salon 94 Design, 3 East Eighty-Ninth St., 2:00 - 4:00
Saturday, November 2
Sunday, November 24
Yu Cheng-Ta: “Fameme,” live and filmed performances about reality television, Wallplay, 321 Canal St.
Tuesday, November 5
Tara Subkoff: Deepfake, the Hole, 312 Bowery, 7:00
November 6, 13, 16, 20
Luca Veggetti with Moe Yoshida: From Weimar to Taipei (Roland Gebhardt-Mercedes Searer’s Selfdom, Luca Veggetti’s Fourth Character, Chin Chih Yang’s Black Hole, Rolando Peña’s Less Is More), WhiteBox Harlem, 213 East 121st St., 7:00
Thursday, November 7
Yahon Chang: Untitled, Performa Hub: Deitch Projects, 18 Wooster St., 5:00
Sarah Friedland: CROWDS, three-channel video installation of durational dance, La MaMa La Galleria, 47 Great Jones St., 6:00
Saturday, November 9
Pia Camil and Mobile Print Power: Screen Printing Workshop, Queens Museum, 1:00
Niels Bolbrinker and Thomas Tielsch: Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus, Goethe-Institut New York, 30 Irving Pl., 3:00
Duke Riley: Non-Essential Consultants, Inc., Red Hook Labs, 133 Imlay St., 6:00
Sunday, November 10
Glendalys Medina: No Microphone, Participant Inc., 253 East Houston St. #1, 4:00
Sunday, November 10, 17, 24
Glendalys Medina: The Shank Live, Participant Inc., 253 East Houston St. #1, 8:00 am
Monday, November 11
Nkisi: Listening Session, Performa Hub, 47 Wooster St., 6:00
Monday, November 11
Sunday, November 17
Dimitri Chamblas, Sigrid Pawelke: UNLIMITED BODIES, Performa Hub: Deitch Projects, 18 Wooster St., 12:00 and/or 1:00
Tuesday, November 12
Huang Po-Chih, Su Hui-Yu, Yu Cheng-Ta: “The Afterlife of Live Performance” Panel Discussion, Performa Hub, 47 Wooster St., 6:00
Adam Weinert: Monuments: Echoes in the Dance Archive, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 111 Amsterdam Ave., 6:00
Tuesday, November 12, 19
Glendalys Medina: Dear Me, Participant Inc., 253 East Houston St. #1, advance RSVP required, 4:00 - 9:00
Wednesday, November 13
Paul Maheke, Ligia Lewis, Nkisi: Levant, Goethe-Institut Cultural Residencies, Ludlow 38, 38 Ludlow St., 6:00
Thursday, November 14
The New Blockheads: The Brotherhood of the New Blockheads, the Mishkin Gallery, 135 East Twenty-Second St., 6:00
Friday, November 15
Bauhaus at the Margins: Gender, Queer, and Sexual Politics, Performa Hub, 47 Wooster St., 6:00
Heman Chong, Fyerool Darma, Ho Rui An, and Erika Tan: As the West Slept, Silver Art Projects, 4 World Trade Center, twenty-eighth floor, 7:00
Saturday, November 16
“A School for Creating Humans”: Bauhaus Education and Aesthetics Revisited, Performa Hub, 47 Wooster St., 1:00
Sunday, November 17
Bodybuilding: Architecture and Performance Book Launch, including a lecture-performance by New Affiliates (Ivi Diamantopoulou and Jaffer Kolb), Performa Hub, 47 Wooster St., 4:00
Lap-See Lam in conversation with Charlene K. Lau, Performa Hub, 47 Wooster St., free with advance RSVP, 4:00
Tuesday, November 19, 6:00
Sunday, November 24, 8:00
Éva Mag: Dead Matter Moves, production of clay bodies, the Gym at Judson Memorial Church, 243 Thompson St., 1:00 - between 5:00 & 8:00
Tuesday, November 19, 6:00
Friday, November 22, 8:00
Torkwase Dyson: I Can Drink the Distance: Plantationocene in 2 Acts, multimedia performative installation, Pace Gallery, 540 West Twenty-Fifth St.
Thursday, November 21
Machine Dazzle, Narcissister and Rammellzee: Otherworldly: Performance, Costume and Difference, Aronson Gallery, Sheila Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design, 66 Fifth Ave., 6:00
Sarah Friedland: CROWDS — Conversation with Tess Takahashi, La MaMa La Galleria, 47 Great Jones St., 7:00
Thursday, November 21, 6:00
Saturday, November 23, 1:00 & 3:00
Sunday, November 24, 1:00 & 3:00
Tarik Kiswanson: AS DEEP AS I COULD REMEMBER, AS FAR AS I COULD SEE, featuring eleven-year-old children reading his writings, Alexander Hamilton US Custom House, 1 Bowling Green, free with advance tickets
Friday, November 22
Tarik Kiswanson: AS DEEP AS I COULD REMEMBER, AS FAR AS I COULD SEE: In Conversation with Performa Curator Charles Aubin, Performa Hub, 47 Wooster St., 5:00
Saturday, November 23
Cecilia Bengolea, Michèle Lamy: Untitled Performa Commission, featuring boxers and ballet, dancehall, vogue, and contemporary dancers, Performa Hub: Deitch Projects, 18 Wooster St., 4:00
Sunday, November 24, 8:00
Éva Mag: Dead Matter Moves — In Conversation with Camilla Larsson and Yuvinka Medina, the Gym at Judson Memorial Church, 243 Thompson St., 3:00
Australia’s Circa Ensemble returns to Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival for the first time in five years with the death-defying, awe-inspiring En Masse, continuing at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater through October 25. Incorporating acrobatics and gymnastics into contemporary dance with flashes of balletic structures, the Brisbane-based troupe, which presented How Like an Angel at the Union Theological Seminary in 2014, has nothing less than the end of the world on its mind — and what happens after. Created by director and stage designer Yaron Lifschitz with the company, the evening-length work is divided into two related parts. In the first half, the ten extremely talented and brave dancers — Caroline Baillon, Marty Evans, Piri Lee Goodman, Keaton Hentoff-Killian, Cecilia Martin, Hamish McCourty, Daniel O’Brien, Kimberley O’Brien, Jarrod Takle, and Sandy Tugwood — break apart and come together to alternating music by Franz Schubert, Lieders from Schwanengesang (“Ständchen,” “In der Ferne,” “Der Doppelgänger”) and Winterreise (“Der Leiermann,” “Gute Nacht,” “Die Nebensonnen,” “Frühlingstraum”), and electronic music and noise from twenty-six-year-old Swedish composer Klara Lewis (“Msuic I,” “Want,” “Too,” “Beaming”).
The Schubert songs are marvelously sung by tenor Robert Murray, dressed like a vagabond with ratty clothing and carrying a tall, twisted walking stick (the costumes are by associate director Libby McDonnell), accompanied by Tamara-Anna Cislowska on a grand piano. The barefoot performers, wearing jeans and gray T-shirts, move in front of and behind a plastic curtain that comes down and raises again to reveal set changes. A woman crawls across the front of the stage, contorting her lower body into seemingly impossible positions. All ten dancers are trapped in a transparent inflated cube. A parade of solos, duets, and trios marches in the front. Three dancers build a precarious human pyramid, climbing on top of one another. The six men and four women run, jump, slide, get thrown, and threaten to fall against the hard floor — at one treacherous point the audience gasped loudly in unison as a man, fifteen feet in the air, falls, face forward. But Lifschitz has built in various fail safes to try to prevent any potential tragedies, unobtrusively using spotters, and the dancers, who have years of highly specialized circus and acrobatic training, are well-practiced at rolling into somersaults and other moves in case a lift, toss, or carry doesn’t go perfectly.
After intermission, the mood changes. Now that we’re familiar with Circa’s movement vocabulary and impressive skills, we’re not as worried about the safety of the performers, who have formed a kind of postapocalyptic community. All ten dancers are onstage for most of the second half, which is set to Igor Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps (“The Rite of Spring”), aggressively played by Cislowska and Michael Harvey on pianos that face each other at the back of the stage, and features dazzling lighting by Lifschitz and Richard Clarke. The situation is not quite as dire as the performers expand their repertoire, creating breathtaking formations, moving in unison, banding together to face the future. It’s no mere pie-in-the-sky hopefulness but a deep-seated belief in the innate instinct of humanity to forge ahead, to do whatever is necessary to survive and thrive. The first act is introduced by a quote from Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born,” while the second starts with a dictum from German philosopher Walter Benjamin: “There is no document of civilization that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” En Masse is a document showing that something new can indeed be born, even in times of crisis and barbarism.
The Griffin Theater in the Bloomberg Building
545 West 30th St. at Eleventh Ave.
Through October 25, $42-$92
In May 2018, William Forsythe presented a site-specific work as part of “A Prelude to the Shed,” a preview of what New Yorkers could expect from the new arts center at Hudson Yards. The free collaboration, Tino Sehgal: This variation and William Forsythe: Pas de Deux Cent Douze, put visitors right in the middle of the action as near-total darkness evolved into a cappella singing and an energetic duet as the walls of a temporary facility opened to the street. Choreographer and visual artist Forsythe, the former head of Ballet Frankfurt who has worked independently after ending the Forsythe Company in 2015, is back at Hudson Yards with A Quiet Evening of Dance, a lovely evening-length piece continuing through October 25 at the Shed’s Griffin Theater. Consisting of new and reimagined repertory works, the hundred-minute performance is divided into two main sections, taking place on an empty stage at floor level, putting the ten dancers on equal footing with the audience.
The first half consists of four parts, focusing primarily on duets that are almost like a primer for Forsythe’s choreographic language, which relies heavily on the deconstruction of classical ballet, emphasizing the movement of the arms and hands and upper body. “Prologue,” featuring Parvaneh Scharafali and Ander Zabala, and “Catalogue,” with Jill Johnson and Brit Rodemund, are set in near silence, the only sounds coming from bird tweeting and the dancers’ breathing — some breathe significantly harder than others, like different sounds that emerge from tennis players in the midst of a match, though not as forceful and urgent — and their feet, which glide across the black floor in sneakers covered in wooly socks whose colors sometimes are similar to the wrist-to-biceps gloves they wear that give yet more weight to their arm movement. (The playful costumes are by Dorothee Merg.) Johnson and Rodemund’s duet also has them exploring their entire bodies in a thrilling kind of anatomy lesson. “Epilogue” follows, a series of duets in which Scharafali, Zabala, Johnson, Rodemund, Brigel Gjoka, Riley Watts, Rauf “RubberLegz” Yasit, Jake Tribus, and Roderick George (whom I saw perform a sizzling solo last year when his Pas de Deux Cent Douze partner was unable to dance with him) rotate onstage to Morton Feldman’s soft “Nature Pieces from Piano No. 1,” each dancer establishing their unique personalities: Scharafali with her casual elegance (with her hands at times in her pockets), Johnson with her stoic presence, Watts with his emotional facial gestures, Yasit with his body-twisting (though repetitive) contortions. Gjoka and Watts, moving in rare unison, conclude with “Dialogue (DUO2015)” before intermission.
A co-commission with Sadler’s Wells, where it debuted in October 2018, A Quiet Evening of Dance continues after intermission with “Seventeen / Twenty One,” which is not quite as quiet though just as winning as the dancers, now on a white floor, use the language they explored earlier in a more complexly structured work, set to Jean-Phillippe Rameau’s Baroque “Hippolyte et Aricle: Ritrounelle” from Une Symphonie Imaginaire. The title links the seventeenth and twenty-first centuries — Rameau was born in 1683 — as all ten dancers whirl about the stage, ranging from solos to duets to trios and then everyone coming together for a grand finale.